DNA promoter methylation in breast tumors: No association with genetic polymorphisms in MTHFR and MTR

Hua Tao Meng, Peter G. Shields, Jing Nie, Catalin Marian, Christine B. Ambrosone, Susan E. McCann, Mary Platek, Shiva S. Krishnan, Bin Xie, Stephen B. Edge, Janet Winston, Dominica Vito, Maurizio Trevisan, Jo L. Freudenheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Aberrant promoter methylation is recognized as an important feature of breast carcinogenesis. We hypothesized that genetic variation of genes for methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and methionine synthase (MTR), two critical enzymes in the one-carbon metabolism, may alter DNA methylation levels and thus influence DNA methylation in breast cancer. We evaluated case-control association of MTHFR C677T, A1298C, and MTR A2756G polymorphisms for cases strata-defined by promoter methylation status for each of three genes, E-cadherin, p16, and RAR-β2 in breast cancer; in addition, we evaluated case-case comparisons of the likelihood of promoter methylation in relation to genotypes using a population-based case-control study conducted in Western New York State. Methylation was evaluated with real-time methylation-specific PCRs for 803 paraffin-embedded breast tumor tissues from women with primary, incident breast cancer. We applied unordered polytomous regression and unconditional logistic regression to derive adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals. We did not find any association of MTHFR and MTR polymorphisms with breast cancer risk stratified by methylation status nor between polymorphisms and likelihood of promoter methylation of any of the genes. There was no evidence of difference within strata defined by menopausal status, estrogen receptor status, folate intake, and lifetime alcohol consumption. Overall, we found no evidence that these common polymorphisms of the MTHFR and MTR genes are associated with promoter methylation of E-cadherin, p16, and RAR-β2 genes in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)998-1002
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


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